Essex

Southend Airport runway protesters given police bail

Fifteen climate change activists arrested at London Southend Airport have been released on bail.

Members of Plane Stupid and Climate Rush entered the airport at 09:00 BST on Saturday and were arrested by Essex police officers.

They had planned to put solar panels on the runway and perform a dance routine dressed as pilots and cabin crew.

The five men and 10 women have been released on police bail until 30 November.

They were being held on suspicion of entering a restricted zone at an airport and aggravated trespass.

'Solar power needed'

The airport wants to extend its runway by 300m (984ft) to allow larger passenger aircraft to be used.

The Stobart Group, which owns the airport, aims to have two million passengers a year passing through its terminal, by 2020.

In a statement before the arrests, a spokeswoman for the protesters said: "Southend Council say the expansion will bring jobs.

"But investment in renewable energy would create many more jobs without damaging the climate.

"What we need is solar power, not plane power."

An airport spokeswoman said the runway had been closed for a "short period" while police dealt with the situation but no flights had been affected.

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